Projektfabrik pioneers intertwined paths of self-discovery and skills training through theatre and acting for social inclusion in general and to dramatically increase the employability of disadvantaged people in particular. Projects are offered under a scheme called JobAct®.
Instead of using theatre pedagogy to prepare for creative or artistic careers, Projektfabrik turns it into an empowerment instrument to leave the circles of dependence and frustration. The basic concept of JobAct® addresses disadvantaged people and fosters their social inclusion with a combination of theatrical education and social work. By the theatrical work, participants acquire competences in communication and interaction, as well as personal and social skills, underpinned by creative theatre approaches to boost their self-confidence. Resting on theatrical work and personal development, all JobAct® projects are actually taking place on stage. The sense of achievement by developing a successful stage play, leads to a long lasting trust in ones own capacity. The aim of the project is the placement of the participants in occupation, education or training, according to their individual intentions and abilities.
With an above 40% success rate of finding a job or vocational Training, JobAct® outperforms the state agencies' average. On top of the 40%, an additional 20% of the participants go either back to school to finish a degree or go into another program that keeps them off the streets and enhances their trainings.
Based in Witten, North Rhine-Westphalia, PROJEKTFABRIK is a social entrepreneurship organisation and independent vocational education and trainings provider (VET). It was founded in 2005 by Sandra Schürmann, who is still CEO. PROJEKTFABRIK started out by conducting training programs for long-term unemployed young people. In the last ten years, the organization’s JobAct® program has started to diversify to other groups in need by including older workers, single parents and school drop-out kids, all of them long-term unemployed, with the goal to place them into occupation. Having also a successful track-record of working with Migrants over the last 8 years, PROJEKTFABRIK started last year to offer a theatre-based projects especially designed for refugees and language training.
The JobAct® model rests upon a specific local cooperation model, which brings together public and private institutions as well as other stakeholders deemed to be relevant for finding job offers and placement opportunities. The client base comprises local employment consortia, public JobCenters and educational institutions. This approach seeks to combine the different core competences of the partners in the sake of the personal and professional development of the participants.
PROJEKTFABRIK links its administrative competence of a central management with the flexibility and close connection to the different regions by regional representatives. At it’s headquarter it provides specialized departments to organise and manage the different projects: front and back office, quality management, project development, project support, bookkeeping and reporting. The employees of the headquarter support the local activities of the regional representatives and have direct contact to the local partners according to their fields of expertise. As a counterpart, the regional representatives are responsible for the networking and the local contacts as well as the development of the region.
PROJEKTFABRIK first received broader recognition when it was awarded the first German National Award for Youth and Work in 2006. It is a member of ASHOKA, the largest network of social entrepreneurs worldwide, with organisations in 70 countries putting their system changing ideas into practice on a global scale. Numerous accolades have followed. Along the development of PROJEKTFABRIK, different foundations helped to scale the JobAct® program significantly throughout Germany, while maintaining the outstanding level of quality. In 2010 Sandra Schürmann was rewarded the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany by the former Federal Minister of Labour Ursula von der Leyen. In 2011 Sandra Schürmann and Simon Rieser, her business partner, became finalist of the Schwab Foundation “Social Entrepreneur of the Year” Award. In 2012 Sandra Schürmann received the national “Vision Award” for her social innovation.
Thanks to this help, JobAct® could be established as a recognized, national brand in the field of cultural education and employment throughout Germany – so far with projects in 15 federal states, in 110 cities with over 5,000 participants and 45,000 spectators. PROJEKTFABRIK employs 30 full time staff, around 25-30 freelance theatre educators and 25-30 social workers, working within JobAct® projects for partner organizations – summing up to around 80-90 employees.
Art as educational principle
Art as an educational principle is the leading idea of PROJEKTFABRIK. Accordingly, the primarily used art form acting is employed to develop self-awareness and key competences, competences required to grow out of unemployment and break the downward spiral of dependence and frustration. With its process focus, the imaginative pursuit for solutions, the social interaction and the orientation on classical themes of world literature, acting becomes a sublime educational approach for personal development. This principle is fruitful for individuals of all ages and different needs, but also for the management of organizations and other group processes.